420 Girl - Isa Aron

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When Isa Aron, pictured, walked into the medical marijuana dispensary, her first words were, "I'm here because I have pain. I do not want to get high." An unassuming woman in her early 60s with perfect skin and ghost-white hair cropped short like a schoolboy's, she had been suffering from peripheral neuropathy. The soles of her feet hurt. There was nothing wrong with them, but something between her brain and the nerves in her feet was getting lost in translation. She had tried everything, pills, acupuncture, a special diet and rolling around in a wheelchair. She even went to a healer, who diagnosed the problem as trauma from a past life. He waved a few crystals around and sent her home. The idea came from The New York Times, which reported that cancer patients found significant pain relief when they smoked one or two puffs of cannabis a day. A tenured college professor, my mother hadn't smoked pot for 32 years, but she'd tried everything else.